The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season outlook Thursday. This year, they expect a near "normal" season with 70% confidence.
Here is the breakdown:
- 9-15 named storms are expected (average is 12)
- 4 to 8 of those will become hurricanes (average is 6)
- 2 to 4 of those will strengthen to major hurricanes (average is 3)
A several factors went into the NOAA forecast. For one, El Nino has developed across the Pacific. This typically leads to increased vertical wind shear that favors less storm development while the West African Monsoon and increased Atlantic ocean temperatures favor more storms. So the forecast splits in the middle.
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Keep in mind that this is not a landfall forecast, but activity outlook. It only takes one or two storms to make a huge impact, like last year. The short lead time for Hurricane Florence, and the massive inland flooding from Hurricane Michael exposed the variety of impacts these storms can have.
"They point to, 'hey, hurricanes impact different people in different ways,' so I need to make sure my preparedness plans are in place for the ways myself, my family, my area could be impacted," said NOAA lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Dr. Gerry Bell.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs June 1-Nov. 30. We have had one named storm already. Sub Tropical Storm Andrea earlier this week near Bermuda, which weakened in less than 24 hours.